Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's just so much easier to say Earth is 6000 years

And be done with it. The scientists can't even figure out how old Earth really is:

The world's oldest known diamonds have been found encased in a crystal in Western Australia, scientists say (see Australia map).

The minuscule gemstones are 4.25 billion years old and could provide a rare glimpse into Earth's distant geologic past.

"No one would have really predicted that diamonds were in there," said Simon Wilde, a geologist at Curtin University of Technology in Perth and a member of the team that made the find.

The discovery suggests that seas of molten lava that covered primordial Earth had cooled down faster than had previously been thought.

The find also suggests that plate tectonics, the process by which large shelves of Earth's crust move to create geologic activity, may have already been underway.

"A diamond would never form in a magma ocean," said Thorsten Geisler, a geologist at Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitaet in Munster, Germany, and another team member.

The discovery is a shocker to geologists, many of whom believed that the molten lava and volcanic activity persisted on Earth's surface for at least 500 million years after our planet formed some 4.5 billion years ago.

Diamonds Are Forever

The tiny diamonds were found trapped in zircon, a rare and exceptionally stable mineral that forms under temperatures between 1,112 and 1,652 Fahrenheit (600 and 900 degrees Celsius).

Once zircon has crystallized it may be moved around by geological processes, but its chemical makeup and structure don't change. This makes its age easy to pinpoint.

Zircon crystals represent the only record of the first 400 million to 500 million years of Earth's history, Wilde explained.

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(Photo taken from article.)
A microscope image reveals tiny diamond fragments (center) encased in a zircon crystal. Scientists say the diamonds found inside the crystal are the oldest ever found, at some 4.25 billion years old. (Image courtesy Martina Menneken/Nature)


Anonymous said...

The Discovery Institute will just devalue it, and then put out a press release saying that justifies its actual age of 150 years.

ellroon said...

It's a test... a test from God! To see if you are so faithful that you can ignore scientific methods and information!

Apparently the fundies' God thinks it is a good thing to go through life with your ears plugged yelling,"LA LA LA, I can't HEAR you!"

Steve Bates said...

There... on the left... isn't that the face of a kitty-cat, and maybe a couple of legs or a leg and a tail? It's the world's oldest (and probably the world's smallest) LOLcat! "im in ur zirconz, watchin ur plates move."

ellroon said...

4 billion year old LOLcats? ...

There is a God!